By Ivy Tejano
DAVAO CITY – Two lawmakers from Davao Region and one from North Cotabato were the biggest spenders in 2017.
The Commission on Audit (COA) identified former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as number one in the list of spenders in the House of Representatives for 2017.
Based on the COA’s itemized list of amounts paid to and expenses incurred by lawmakers, Alvarez spent P43.7 million on his second year as speaker, P30.4 million of which went to office consultants.
Meanwhile, Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Party-list Representative Jericho Nograles followed Alvarez in the list with a total of P23.4 million expenses that year.
A third Mindanaoan solon is in the top five—North Cotabato Representative Nancy Catamco with her 2017 expenditures reaching P20.62 million.
Kalinga congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang is on third with P22 million, followed by former DIWA Party-list Representative and now Department of Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar with P20.5 million.
The amount does not include the discretionary fund of the Office of the House Speaker which could allegedly run into billions of pesos.
The House of Representatives, last year, dropped from its payroll at least 40 contractual employees connected with the office of former House Speaker Alvarez.
This was revealed in a memorandum by Director II Evelyn de Jesus, of the Human Resource Management Service of the House of Representatives to the director of accounting services.
The memorandum, dated July 30, 2018, was for a request to delete a list of 42 contractual employees assigned to the office of the Speaker effective August 2018.
The memorandum came just days after Alvarez was replaced on July 24, 2018 as House Speaker by Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Sources at the House of Representatives revealed that the list did not include at least 121 consultants receiving monthly compensation from P20,000 to P50,000.
The list of contractual employees was included in the payroll beginning on July 16.
With a total estimated monthly compensation of P1,082,000, the contractual employees were paid an estimated total of P12,984,012 after two years.